- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (December 26, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312359527
- ISBN-13: 978-0312359522
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,611,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Happy Cruelty Day!: Daily Celebrations of Quiet Desperation Paperback – December 26, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Though comedian Powers may be tongue-in-cheek when he says to disregard the instructions of the 365 short vignettes on how to "devote yourself to a life of passion, vengeance, and heartbreak," readers may ignore this cobbled-together, flat collection. Powers proposes that each day of the year be distinguished by its own unique holiday, a structure he uses as an excuse for his dark and not all that funny musings. Selections include the muddled message on race relations in January 14's "When You Overturn the Hyundai at Tonight's Race Riot, Make Sure the Chicks Are Watching Day!" and May 30's "The Sk8r Boy Who Can Help You Day!" in which the title character provides a cure for cancer and relationship troubles. In March 1's "Sit in Abject Terror Day!" Powers details instructions for a dramatic anxiety attack about one's "flat, static" life. On December 17—"Your Favorite Yoga Position Day!"—Powers reports that when asked why they do yoga, most people say, "Because I was told it will make my bowels stop aching when I am all alone in the night." This volume will only appeal to those with the most tortured sensibilities. 13 b&w photos. (Jan.)
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From Library Journal
Comedian Powers's compilation of 365 vignettes is crass, witty, snarky, and unbelievably funny. It's for anyone-misanthropes and pessimists particularly-who's ever been fed up with books of daily inspiration. Go ahead and replace Christmas with "Stuff Your Underwear into My Mouth and Punch Me in the Nose Until I Can't Breathe Through It Day!" Readers will wonder how July 10 could ever have been anything other than "Tell Everyone You See, All Day Long, That They Can Do Whatever They Want Because It's Not Like It's Going To Bring Your Dead Brother Back Day!" This book is recommended for public libraries with the caveat that it contains profanity and material many readers may consider objectionable (sick would be an apt descriptor; the words raunchy and tasteless are also applicable here). Academic libraries may wish to add this title to their leisure collections. Reservations about appropriateness of content aside, it is a severely and morosely funny book. -Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L.
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Top customer reviews
Happy Cruelty Day! almost perfectly captures Bob Powers's quirky sense of humor on the page. I say almost because to truly see that you have to go see him perform live, but in lieu of that, this book is the perfect antidote to all those page-a-day calendars with supposedly inspiring quotes you get sick of by early February. Powers goes in the other direction and conjures up only the most unlikely, ridiculous, over-the-top and unique days to celebrate (while making you wonder how exactly some of these can even *be* celebrated).
The stories used to explain the holidays sometimes meander and you have no clue where he's going with them, and often still don't when you get to the end, but you've cracked up anyway. This book also makes a great gift, and as someone who's given it to family members, I can say that it's also a gift you can give to loved ones as well as enemies (if you were going to buy your enemies gifts, which you probably aren't, but still).
Just as Van Gogh abserved the world around him and created vivid and surreal landscapes, familiarly of this plane and at the same time transcendently of another, so does Powers take in the world around him and translate it into a vision haunting and rare and funny.
One warning: this book is truly adult, and not in the sense that its entries are of a provocative and sexual nature (although many of them are). Rather, it's adult in the sense that its pages are filled with a mature sensibility, dark, and twisted and one borne of equal parts sorrow and joy.
Powers has created a work that will seem endless and vast until the last page, when it will seem as if it has concluded all too briefly.
I can definitely imagine this book polarizing readers. For people who are turned off by dark subject matter, this book will leave them paralyzed with shock. But for the rest of us, who appreciate humor mined from dark places (George Saunders, The Office, Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, Donald Barthelme, David Sedaris), this book is practically a revelation. As you make your way through it and read entries like "Fourteen Ways to Tell A Cajun Chef to F*** Himself Day" you will be amazed at Powers' seemingly limitless imagination for his subject matter. Can't recommend it enough.
Powers' website is great, but somehow these come across even more vividly on paper. [And remember - buy a book, save a... pixel. Or something.]
And you should buy two copies, because as soon as you start reading, I guarantee that you'll immediately think of that weird friend of yours who absolutely HAS to have this. It's that kind of book.